RetroArch aims to let you play real Nintendo 64 cartridges on PC emulators this year

A Quake II N64 cartridge connected to a MacBook

There are already an array of devices out there that can read your old game cartridges, dump the contents to a PC, and allow you to enjoy easy, legal emulation of your own collection. But the folks at RetroArch are annoyed that these devices are often expensive, out of stock, or otherwise difficult to find – and so they’re building their own solution.

The Open Hardware project was revealed nearly a year ago as a proposed DIY standard for a USB device that directly integrates your cartridges into RetroArch. In a new blog post, the devs say “we stand by this goal to this day, however we felt that the DIY market alone will not help the cause significantly to bring emulation to the mainstream.”

So RetroArch is partnering with “a hardware manufacturer for a commercial release – bringing the peripheral into everyone’s hands – while still keeping a free and open DIY route.” The devs hope to bring this device into production in the middle of the year, with a full release to follow late in 2022, though they acknowledge that there are some major issues with global logistics at the moment.

The device is still in the design phase, but the devs are hoping for an initial release supporting Nintendo 64 cartridges, with add-on modules for additional cartridge types to follow. A survey asks potential buyers about price points anywhere from $20 to $100 USD. You shouldn’t necessarily take that as a concrete indicator of what the device would cost, but that survey is a way for you to let the devs know what you think about pricing.

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